June 21, 2024

Dowie’s Northern Ireland challenge to Bolton man Charles

Former Northern Ireland captain Iain Dowie has challenged Dion Charles to become a “hero” for the national team.

Charles bagged a brace in a 2-0 win against San Marino earlier this year – his first goals on the international stage.

The 27-year-old has had an impressive season at Wanderers, finding the net 21 times in all competitions as Ian Evatt’s men finished fifth in League One before coming up just short against Barnsley in the play-offs.

He will be hoping to make his mark during the upcoming European Championship qualifiers against Denmark and Kazakhstan, which take place on Friday, June 16 and Monday, June 19 respectively.

Dowie admits they need to be more effective in the final third but believes Charles has the ability to make a real difference.

“First and foremost, what we need is goals,” he told The Belfast Telegraph.

“Under Michael the first time around, we had Steven Davis and Kyle Lafferty, and before that Lawrie Sanchez had David Healy.

“Michael is looking for heroes and I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Charles. The Bolton manager thinks very highly of him.

“His first goal against San Marino impressed me. It came to him at an awkward height and he made something that was difficult look very easy.

“He is not just very mobile but makes intelligent runs and moves well in the box. When you add the goals he scored, he could become a feature in Michael O’Neill’s team.”

O’Neill’s side are one of several teams on three points in Group H after the opening two matches, having suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat against Finland last time out.

Conor Bradley is also in the squad, having make a big impact while on loan at Wanderers over the past season.

Eoin Toal was also set to be involved but had to drop out of the squad after picking up an ankle injury in training.


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